20 mins of oral exam covering a question from each area of the final exam. Seemed to go alright.

My carefully worked out cross country plan was not used and I was asked to plan on the fly for somewhere I had not been before – “Let’s say Westerly”. Not a true cross country – but the planning elements were the same.

I back of the envelope worked it up. I was asked a few questions about courses and execution of the plan and out we went. My pre-flight was watched. My startup was observed. I could see ticks or little scribbles going on the sheet whenever I think I was doing something right. I was verbalizing like I should for the examiner. Seemed to go over well.

Got off and immediately ended up in a small tussle with ATC. We deliberately filed for VFR at 3000ft so we would not require vectoring and didn’t need to climb high and burn gas for a 15 minute hop to Westerly. But ATC had me go up to 4500ft and I got a short lecture about VFR altitudes and directions from the controller. I wasn’t going to argue and took the assigned altitude but it was a waste of gas climbing up to come straight back down. Then I got told to watch out for descending traffic in front of me. Ho hum! We trundled along and as soon as I could I called Westerly in sight and I was let go to my own devices. I called my entry to the pattern on the CTAF and overflew the field mid-field left crosswind for runway 32. The ATIS had suggested wind at 330. The windsock in the circle was showing a strong left crosswind. I flew the pattern – ground tracking for the wind and because the wind looked strong I didn’t use flaps 30 on final. But I ended up high so I called a go-around and flew it again.

Extended my downwind some more and then tried again. On base I could look down into the salt water ponds and see the fish traps on the sea bed. Concentrate – look for the turn to final. The wind was now gusty and left right on the sock and I wiggled her down and got a nice landing. Then I was asked for a soft field take off. I don’t do them a lot. I asked where the “soft” field started and was told the pole just ahead. I stopped before it and cockpit managed my frequencies, VOR and GPS before proceeding onto the “soft field”. More scribbles on the notepad. I yoked back to stop the nose wheel getting stuck in a rut and kept her rolling then popped her up into ground effect asap and then wheelbarrowed her down the runway a few feet off while she accelerated and off I went. Back to Providence. Half way back I was offered a PARTIAL engine failure. I workflowed with an electric fuel pump and full rich mixture as I pointed out a field below I would go for. I got told I had my engine back. Then was asked what to do if it had been a full failure. I workflowed that and made mock distress calls without pushing the transmit switch. I again pointed at the big field below and declined the small strip at Richmond – also below – the field was a better bet with no engine. Then a headset failure was announced. I reached for the hand mike and pointed at the speaker switch. How would I deal with screaming kids in the back seat? I pointed at the crew/passenger switch on the intercom setup. Fine I was told – back to Providence.

As I approached I was not 100% clear about the runway I was being vectored onto and assumed it would be the same as my departure and started to set up for it. Then I got controlled onto runway 5 for a straight in. I let down and set up for the landing. A jet going off ahead of me failed to maintain centerline on his initial climb and I got a good assessment of the left crosswind. I verbalized my allowance for wake turbulence and where I had to touch down to avoid it and then crabbed down to the runway. Then I lowered the wing, kicked the rudder to square her and put her down in a long steady left single wheel landing, flaring her to lose speed and balance on the left wheel as it grazed the runway. Then we lost enough speed and dropped onto all the wheels – I aileroned hard into wind to hold her square and on centerline. Oh I GREASED IT! Man was I happy with that landing. I could have failed the whole test but that landing was my best ever and I loved it. Thanks to my instructor for all his patient attempts to get me landing and the exercises in strong cross winds and gusts. It all came together at that one moment. It was SWEET!

Then I beat myself up for forgetting my lights on the way down and fessed up to it – second time I have done that on a straight in final approach. The examiner missed it too.

In to park, secure the aircraft and debrief. The only serious criticism was for flying through a couple of altitude assignments by a couple of hundred feet before settling down. But as I had verbalized I knew what was going on – I was forgiven. Long and the short – my Stage II check – PASS.

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